Edinburgh were on for three-in-a-row for the first time in, oh… ages, with only once bottom of the league fixtures, Connacht, standing in their way. But no more. The visitors had the majority of the ball in a match in which Edinburgh managed to lose a decent lead and then found themselves playing catch-up for the rest of the night.
The first half hour of the match was reduced to a kicking contest between Greg Laidlaw and Dan Parks, Laidlaw coming out 12-3 ahead. It then went a bit wrong for the home side. Carrying the ball upfield a couple of wide passes saw a huge overlap appear from nowhere, which Connacht flanker, Mike Kearney took advantage of to gallop through to score the visitor’s first try. Parks scored the conversion and in one fell swoop, the score was a worryingly close 12-10.
Laidlaw pulled Edinburgh another three points clear after Parks was carded for a deliberate knock-down, but a few minutes later Connacht were back to within two from another penalty from ‘substitute’ kicker Gavin Duffy to end the first half 15-13 to Edinburgh.
Within 10 or so minutes of the restart, Connacht had pulled a lead out through two Parks penalties. Edinburgh had had a chance but the final pass, as ever, went astray. From the restart, Edinburgh were awarded yet another penalty at the breakdown, which cost a yellow for the visitors. A successful kick pulled Edinburgh up to within a point at 18-19. Geoff Cross then had a penetrating run up through the defence awarded with a scrum to the home side, the resultant infringement from Connacht giving Laidlaw an easy three points to take the score up to 21-19 to the home side.
Another kick exchange took the score to 24-22 to Edinburgh and then, with 10 minutes to go, a seemingly speculative stab through with the boot saw a comedy of errors enacted in the Edinburgh defence as first Brown, then Laidlaw failed to deal with the randomly bouncing ball. This gave Connacht the chance to get up, and another hack through saw full back, Robbie Henshaw, pull the ball from the back of the goal line ruck and dive over for Connacht’s second try. Parks converted and scored again with a final minute penalty and Edinburgh were, once again, ruing mistakes and lost chances in the 32-24 defeat.
Man of the Match award for Greg Laidlaw (pictured top) was precious little compensation for a hard fought, but ultimately fruitless encounter.